Should condominium corporations register liens considering the Order in Council?

March 25, 2020 | Jason Rivait

In today’s climate, news from a week ago is considered prehistoric but we thought it necessary to chime in on an important conversation with month-end around the corner.

On March 17, 2020, the Government of Ontario suspended all “limitation periods” and all “provisions establishing any period of time within which any step must be taken in any proceeding (or intended proceeding)” (the “Order”).

The question that has been asked by many is whether a condominium lien is a limitation period or proceeding contemplated by the Order and the answer has varied amongst industry friends.

What we do know is that the Order did not explicitly refer to any form of “lien”, including condominium, nor does it define what is meant by “limitation period”.

It appears that the intention of the Order was to preserve the right to bring proceedings at a later date while courts are closed and people are being asked to socially distance. In this regard, if the Order applied to condominium liens it would have enabled condominium corporations to defer registration of the lien and additional costs to owners.  Considering the business interruption the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, any financial relief that condominium corporations are able to provide owners would be undoubtedly welcome by all.

Unfortunately, the Order is unclear as to whether the 90-day timeframe to register a lien from the date of default has been suspended.  Due to this uncertainty, we are recommending that condominium corporations register liens in accordance with requirements of the Condominium Act, 1998.

What seems less ambiguous when reading the Order is that condominium corporations are not prevented or prohibited from registering condominium liens at this time.  That said, we would welcome any clarification from the Government as to the application of the Order.


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